Mark McCown: $20 divorce kit isn’t worth the price

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Dear Lawyer Mark: I’m mad.

My wife and me tried to get a divorce together without hiring an attorney. We got one of those kits from the store, filled it out and filed it.

Well now, when we went to court, the judge told us that there was some things missing and wrong with it, but that he couldn’t tell us what all he needed.

Email newsletter signup

He told us our best bet was to go hire an attorney.

Lawyer Mark, we know who gets custody and how we want everything split up.

I thought we had a right to represent ourselves in court.

Why won’t the judge let us?

I paid $20 for those forms, and they should be good enough. — MADDER THAN YOU KNOW WHAT

Dear Mad: Well, first of all, you do have the right to represent yourself, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to follow the law.

Ohio law requires some specific forms to be filed, as well as some specific language to be fled with it.

While the judges try to be as helpful as possible to those who represent themselves, the judges are not permitted do the legal work for them.

You may want to see an attorney about a dissolution if you have everything worked out–it will cost less than a contested divorce.

The attorney will be able to tell you at the initial conference how much it would cost.

As for the $20 kit, well, my parents always told me when I was growing up that you get what you pay for.

Thought for the Week: When a closed mind re-opens, it’s usually under the same old management. Anonymous.

It’s The Law is written by attorney Mark K. McCown in response to legal questions received by him. If you have a question, please forward it to Mark K. McCown, 311 Park Avenue, Ironton, Ohio 45638, or e-mail it to The right to condense and/or edit all questions is reserved.